Every year we see businesses start running Christmas commercials earlier and earlier. We see Starbucks assault us with their holiday cups even before Halloween candy has been traded between siblings. Radio stations gleefully start playing Christmas music on repeat as if this cheap tactic will save their dying medium.
We have a real problem on our hands, and we’re not doing anything to stop it. We’re either naive or indifferent, but either way, if we don’t act, we’ll lose something irreplaceable — the magic of Christmas.
When I was a kid, I remember reading in the paper that the wonderfully tacky claymation movie “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” was set to air one evening and watching it with my family. It was special, not because it was particularly good, but because it came on once a year. Its rarity is what gave it value.
We’ve allowed companies to get their greedy little claws into this magical time of year. They push Christmas and the holiday season on us earlier and earlier, and it’s clear to everyone why — but I implore us all to put our collective foot down and say enough is enough. The reason we should all protest this assault is because the law of diminishing returns is a very real thing. We’re all experiencing it, whether we know it or not. Do you remember the fireworks that exploded the first time you held hands with your teenage crush? That lightheaded feeling when you first kissed? Experiences fade over time; they simply cannot remain magical when they’re repeated again and again. If you eat lobster every day, at some point it’s just another meal.
We have unknowingly allowed ourselves to erode the magic of Christmas by starting the traditions earlier and earlier. The Christmas songs you love become annoying, the Christmas movies no longer hold their nostalgia because familiar things by nature cannot be nostalgic. The advent of streaming services has compounded this problem, increasing the speed at which we grow weary of things we used to hold dear, turning the special into the mundane.
This is why I’ve implemented increasingly draconian measures in my own household, and I suggest you do the same. I don’t do this because I want my children to suffer but for precisely the opposite reason — because I love them and want the best for them. I must protect them from themselves because left to their own devices (literally), they would gorge themselves on holiday movies and music until they exhaust all the joy from the once rare experiences.
The law of diminishing returns cannot be stopped, but it can be slowed. My Christmas lights may be hung, but they won’t be switched on until after the pumpkin pie has been cut. Christmas music won’t be tolerated until then, either. And this year, a new rule: Christmas movies cannot be watched without the express consent of myself or my wife, who despite feeling the siren’s call to start early, sees the logic in delayed gratification. I can’t wait to watch Christmas movies with my wife and kids, but I also want them to enjoy watching them for years to come. I absolutely love Christmas lights. They bring me all kinds of joy, but if I saw them every day, they would lose their magic. I want my kids to joyfully sing Christmas songs throughout the whole month of December, not get fatigued by the same chorus because it has been playing 24/7 on a radio station.
You are doing yourself no favors by starting Christmas early. Take a stand — for yourself, for your children, for Santa himself.